Sexual Trauma: How to Know You’re Ready to Tell Your Story
Opening up to share your story of sexual trauma is an incredibly hard thing to do. There is no specific timeline to follow when it comes to sharing your story.
Some survivors are willing to open up sooner than others. For others, it can be years before they’re willing to talk about what happened to them.
Eventually, though, it is important to tell your story to someone you trust, or someone who can help. Holding in the truth about your sexual trauma can lead to a lot of inner turmoil. It may even cause things like depression or anxiety.
But, how can you be sure you’re ready to open up?
Let’s take a look at some reasons you might choose to tell someone what you’ve been through.
The Trauma Is Taking Over Your Life
Sexual trauma comes in various forms and can cause lasting damage to survivors. If you’ve been traumatized by someone else in this way, it will do more than just cross your mind every now and then.
For some people, it can completely take over their lives. If you have recurring thoughts of your experience—to the point where it makes it difficult to concentrate or focus on anything else—you should tell someone.
Keeping everything inside can make it difficult to actually live your life. If it’s all you think about, it will affect your friendships, your career, and even future relationships.
You Have Feelings of Shame
Many sexual trauma survivors start to feel shameful about what happened. Some start to put the blame on themselves, making up reasons why it’s “their fault.”
Unwanted sexual contact is never the survivor’s fault. However, feeling shame about this is understandable and common. It can lead to other mental health conditions, like depression.
When you feel shame, you might isolate yourself from others because you feel like you should be punished.
If you’re starting to feel shame from what happened to you, it’s important to talk to someone as soon as possible.
You Want to Feel Better
It’s normal to feel sad, angry, or even lonely when you experience some kind of sexual trauma. But, you’ll know you’re ready to tell your story when you’re tired of feeling those things, and you want to feel better.
Knowing you deserve happiness in your life again can be the biggest motivator for telling someone about what happened to you. If you’re ready to break through those negative emotions, opening up might help to take the weight of the world off your shoulders.
Opening Up Isn’t Easy
Again, sharing your story of sexual trauma is never a fun or easy experience. You might be embarrassed, or you’re worried about what people might think. Plus, telling your story out loud often means reliving it in your head, which can bring the trauma to the forefront all over again.
However, by talking to someone, you’re taking another step toward healing. While telling your story might be hard, it’s even harder to keep it in for years without telling a soul.
Having a support system in place is important, and can help you to get through the emotional rollercoaster that might be ahead after you share the truth. Friends and family who will be there for you will be your best asset.
But, it’s also a good idea to talk to a professional counselor or a therapist about what you’ve been through.
In counseling sessions, you’re always in a safe and secure environment. Plus, we can work on resources and exercises that will help you to move past the hurt of sexual trauma, and allow you to take back your life.